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Hardisty calls for mediation

Band election to replace him scheduled for today

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Wrigley (Aug 30/02) - Ousted Pehdzeh Ki First Nation Chief Percy Hardisty is appealing for mediation to sort out the muddled leadership situation in Wrigley.

He wants a mediator to be appointed through the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Hardisty was in Edmonton on medical leave on Aug. 12 when a non-confidence vote was held at a public meeting in Wrigley to dismiss him. When asked if his attempt at mediation was an effort to avoid legal action, Hardisty replied, "We're trying to look at both routes."

Pehdzeh Ki acting chief Elsie Hardisty refused to say whether mediation is an option. She declined any comment on the matter. Counc. Wally Antoine, whom Percy Hardisty said he had appointed as acting chief in his absence, couldn't be reached for comment prior to press deadline.

The band has scheduled an election for today (Thursday) to elect another chief.

In a four-page press release, which Percy Hardisty said he co-wrote with dismissed economic development officer Jim Smith, it states that the Aug. 12 public meeting was not sanctioned by chief and council, therefore the band council resolution to hold another election is illegal.

The press release further states that new councillors were appointed, not elected, prior to the Aug. 12 public meeting, contravening the band's election procedures.

"Opposition membership" are accused of misleading other band members by allegedly declaring that Hardisty and fired senior administrative officer Jacob Pete -- in Edmonton on duty travel at the time -- were "absent without leave," having failed to inform the membership of their whereabouts.

"The radical nature of their approach leads to an administratively challenged group that wish to operate on their agenda resulting in further instability and turmoil within the community..." the press release reads. "If political turmoil and instability within the leadership of the community is allowed to continue this will jeopardize (economic development) projects."

Percy Hardisty also noted that Pete has suffered a heart attack since being fired. Pete is being treated at an Edmonton hospital, according to Hardisty.